Review: Restoran Kong Sai, Bandar Puteri Puchong – Best Poached Chicken In Town

When Restoran Kong Sai first opened in Bandar Puteri Puchong, it quickly gained a reputation for its delicious poached chicken; attracting hordes of hungry diners who would queue to get in over dinnertime. While the resto has since expanded to include the adjacent shop lot, the crowds remain – so it’s best to come early to grab a seat, especially on weekends.

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The air-conditioned area was packed so we sat outside. Service was fast and efficient. They don’t have an extensive menu, but the few items that they have are all excellent.

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The star of the establishment is the poached chicken, which can be ordered in half and whole portions. There are two types available – Kampung (jau dei gai) which is smaller and has leaner meat, and dai san keuk gai (commercially reared) which is fatter and larger in size. Some people prefer kampung chicken because it’s healthier, while others prefer the fattier commercial chickens. Whichever you order, expect smooth, flavourful pieces of chicken that soak up the soy/sesame sauce really well. Getting poached chicken right without drying it out is difficult, but Kong Sai delivers with aplomb. Each piece is juicy and tender. I usually don’t eat the chicken skin when it’s poached, but it’s nice and chewy here. 😀

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I would also recommend the stuffed tofu (minimum order five pieces), which consist of minced meat and vegetables stuffed into beancurd and served in a soup. The tofu balls are sizable and the meat is seasoned just right, with a delicate bite to it.

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Veggies are veggies.

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Another house speciality is the curried pork ribs. These are prepared in a limited amount each day. I think not everyone will like this as the curry is very mild and barely has any kick to it, but the curry has good flavour and the ribs are done well. Personally, I would prefer more ribs. You get a couple of huge potatoes and a few ribs, but they don’t have much meat on them.

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Kong Sai also offers various soups; such as peanut with lotus root and black pepper pork stomach soup. The latter is one of my favourites and they are generous with portions; even throwing in some pork belly slices. The pepper is not overwhelming either, and the offal tastes clean with no gaminess.

Our meal for four came up to RM94 for 2 soups, 4 dishes, 4 portions of rice as well as drinks, which is quite reasonable. The star is surely the chicken, but everything else is pretty good as well.

RESTORAN KONG SAI (PUCHONG BRANCH) 

44G, Jalan Puteri 5/2, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11.30AM – 2.30PM, 5.30PM – 10.30PM (Closed Mondays).

 

What To Do At Khao San Road: Bangkok’s Backpacker Mecca

So after years of incredulous looks whenever I tell friends I’ve never been to Bangkok (“but it’s so near!”), I finally got to visit Asia’s City of Angels, The Big Mango; or more notoriously, Sin City. It was a short trip and we barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer – but N and I enjoyed our time here immensely. Now I see why everyone was like “why haven’t you been to Bangkok yet?!”

Bangkok at night 01 (MK)
Mathias Krumbholz [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D
We didn’t do much research prior to going (a mistake seasoned travellers should avoid!) so I wasn’t sure which area would be a good place to stay. Bangkok is a huge city, divided into many subdivisions, each with its own attractions and experiences. We were on a budget so I picked the cheapest accommodation I could find that wasn’t a hostel. I found one near Khao San Road, a backpacker’s paradise. The only problem? We aren’t exactly party people, so I wasn’t sure what we could do around the place. Turns out, plenty.

Bangkok, like Kuala Lumpur, has two major airports: Don Mueang, which services low-cost airlines, and Suvarnabhumi, which is about 20 km away. Traffic can get pretty bad in the city so always allocate plenty of time going to and from the airport.

HOW TO GET TO KHAO SAN ROAD from DON MUEANG AIRPORT 

The night before we were due to depart for Bangkok, I scoured various websites for info, but there seemed to be no easy way to get to Khao San from Don Mueang. If you’re landing at Suvarnabhumi, things are much easier as there is an airport rail that goes directly to the city centre. The worst case scenario (for our budget, anyway) was to take a taxi (900 baht (!!!) (RM 121) from the official taxi stand inside the airport).

I wasn’t about to spend a good chunk of the money I brought for one taxi ride, so I stubbornly went to the tourist information counter to ask if there was any other way to get there. Lo and behold – the airport runs shuttle buses to various tourist-centric areas within the city ! The A4 bus would take us directly to Khaosan Road and it only costs …. 50 baht! (RM6.77). That’s like a 95% cheaper alternative! 

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The A4 bus runs every 30 minutes. You need to wait for it at the airport’s Exit 6, which is just after arrivals. If you have a lot of luggage, this might not be the best mode of transport since you’ll have to lug it on and off the bus, then up to wherever your hotel is.

The coach was air conditioned, clean and cosy. We got on around 2-ish, and it was quite empty so we had a lot of space to ourselves. From the airport, it took us about an hour to reach Khao San Road.

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We hopped off near Banglamphu, because our hotel/hostel was actually on Soi Rambuttri, just off Khao San Road. Rambuttri is a good place for people on a budget who want to be close to the action, but not at the centre of it. The place is much quieter, with a quaint hipster vibe. The streets are well paved, there is very little traffic except for the occasional bike or trike or two, and there are loads of shops that mirror the ones you find at Khao San, but with less crowd.

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Rambuttri is known for its chill cafes, bars and restos, with large and shady trees and greenery.

 

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There are street stalls as well, peddling souvenirs, cheap clothing, bags, shoes, and more.

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Street massages are a thing. No one bats an eyelid if you’re reclined in full double-chin glory with your feet exposed by the side of the road. An hour-long foot massage will set you back around 250 – 300 baht.

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Exploring the Banglamphu area

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We took a short cut that ran through a covered area, which had more souvenir shops and massage parlours, but also some interesting gems like indie bookstores

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Cue N pushing me past this 2nd hand bookstore really quickly lest I stop to look (after which he wouldn’t be able to get me out of there again)

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Souvenirs for sale. Many sold the standard stuff like fridge magnets and T-shirts saying “I Love Thailand”, but there were also some interesting pieces like paintings, decorative wall hangings and handmade items.

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Finally emerging into the 400-metre-long Khao San Road, we were greeted by dozens, if not hundreds of signages proclaiming various services, from bars and massage parlours to jewellery stores, fashion and retail centres, tattoo studios, restaurants, money changers and supermarkets. Not to mention the many street stalls selling food and clothes on the pedestrian-only main thoroughfare. Loud music blasted from every corner, vendors shouting cheap beer! massage! exotic show! party! fun! It seemed like if you had the money for it, you could find anything along Khao San Road.

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Bangkok’s famous tuk-tuk 

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Khao San felt like a riot on the senses. The swirling colours, the different faces from all walks of life in every shape, colour and size, the smell of barbecued meat and steaming corn wafting into the air, whole barbecued crocodiles and exotic insects on sale, touts shouting “Ping Pong Show!” while holding up placards of sexy women, open air bars where the music was so loud the ground felt like it was shaking slightly.

There were tall blonde Westerners dressed in strappy spaghetti tops laughing boisterously over drinks as they flirted with the tanned, handsome bartenders, petite Thai college girls giggling with their friends as they checked out merchandise, young local women clinging to the arms of older white men, old Japanese tourists, families, students. An essayist once wrote that Khao San was a ‘place to disappear’, and she wasn’t wrong.

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Even the McDonalds here has a Thai flavour ! (pun)

It was fun for awhile to observe the goings-on at Khao San, but also draining for introverts like N and I lol. We retreated back to the Rambuttri area for dinner. Popped into one of the nicer restaurants, which was still reasonably priced.

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Can’t come to Bangkok and not have a coconut shake

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Cheese-filled wontons

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Chicken tom yum for that spicy kick

 

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Gotta pad thai like a basic tourist. It was great though!

Me to waitress: I don’t want beansprouts.

*Waitress does not understand.*

Me: You know, the long white things.. vegetables

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Walking back to our hotel we came across this souped up van that was converted into a mobile bar, with seats on the pavement and a TV installed into the boot. If you like your alcohol, I think you’d be very happy at Rambuttri / Khao San.

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There was still some time to kill so we had a massage (in the shop rather than on the street). Wasn’t much in terms of privacy as everyone was chatting away, but still relaxing.

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Ended the night with a banana nutella pancake!

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Review: Capitol Satay – Melaka’s Original Satay Celup

Happy New Year, everyone!

Whether you celebrated with loved ones at home, with friends out partying, with your pets in your jammies or just alone with a nice book (that’s what I did anyway), I hope it was a good one. I’ve been a bit lazy with my blogging (spent the holiday season gaming, mostly), so now it’s back to the grind again (at work as well)!

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N and I were in Melaka recently, and being foodies, we had to try the local specialty. The original plan was to get oh-chien (stir-fried oyster omelette), but it started raining heavily and we ended up at Capitol Satay instead. Founded in the 1960s, the place is extremely popular with out-of-townies so there’s always a line. We got seats relatively quickly, within 15 minutes of waiting.

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Seating is limited, and the restaurant is not air conditioned. That doesn’t stop the crowds, though.

What do they serve?

Despite the satay moniker, I think it’s more accurate to call it lok lok, ie hotpot. First, choose from a variety of meat, seafood and vegetables on skewers. Then, bring them to your table and dunk the skewers into an aromatic peanut-based sauce, kept bubbling at the middle of your table, until your food is cooked. Voila! Enjoy with bread and cucumber for dipping.

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Choose your poison. There is a dizzying selection at the chiller – sausages, meatballs, seafood tofu, beancurd sheets, oyster mushrooms, Taiwanese sausage, crabmeat sticks, pork, squid, chicken, lamb, etc.

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What we got

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As we ate, restaurant staff came over occasionally, to add more sauce or to stir the pot so that stuff didn’t stick to the bottom. The peanut sauce was fragrant, with a sweet and nutty flavour. I especially liked the bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom. After awhile, everything started to taste the same, although N seemed to like it well enough. Our meal for two came up to about RM30++ which was reasonable since we only took about 20 skewers. If you’re dining in a large group, or if you’re a big eater, the portions might not be filling.

CAPITOL SATAY 

41, Lorong Bukit Cina,
Bandar Hilir, 75100 Melaka,
Malaysia
Opening Hours: 4PM – 12AM (daily)

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Review: Tuck Kee @ Ipoh

Ipoh is a foodie haven, and there are many decades-old institutions in town – like Tuck Kee, a famous noodle house along Jalan Yau Tet Shin, which has been in operation since 1963 (Not to be confused with Sun Tuck Kee a couple of doors away, and also the Tuck Kee in Taman Hoover which serves roasties).

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Basic and no-frills, the resto’s decor is typical of Chinese kopitiams – very much a dine-and-dash kind of place. Specialising in wat tarn hor (stir-fried flat noodles in an egg drop sauce/soup) and moonlight kuey teow (same but topped with an egg), it is a popular dinner spot with local families as much as tourists. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the wat tarn hor, but it was tasty – full of wok hei (breath of fire) and well flavoured. Can’t say I’m a big fan though, but that’s just me.

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Another one of their popular dishes is the boiled baby octopus (RM18). The price is pretty steep, and the portion is not that big either, but you’ll be rewarded with springy, chewy pieces of baby octopi, drizzled in a light soy sauce and fragrant fried shallots.

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Giant pork balls are among the new offerings on the menu. Had a nice bite to it, and no overwhelmingly porky smell.

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Another new offering – featuring the same egg drop sauce, but with fish paste shaped into ‘noodle’ strands.

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You can also order fried gyoza from the stall across the road !

TUCK KEE 

61, Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Opening hours: 5PM – 2AM (Daily)

Breakfast @ Kedai Kopi Keng Nam, Ipoh

I might be biased because it’s my parents’ hometown and all, but Ipoh might just have some of the best food in the world (I can hear people from the other Malaysian states screaming their dissent in the background). Of course like every other place, there are ‘meh’ establishments – but there are many great spots to dine in Ipoh, if you know where to look. One of these is Kedai Kopi Keng Nam, a no-frills kopitiam in the heart of town.

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There are several stalls within the kopitiam; but notable are the ones selling Ipoh-style chee cheong fun (steamed glutinous rice rolls) and yong liew (assorted items stuffed with fish paste). Another must-have, which is made by the restaurant itself rather than the stalls, is lor mai farn, glutinous rice with kaya and/or curry, which you can order together with your drinks.

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Ipoh-style chee cheong fun differs from what you can find in KL or places like Penang, in that it features mushroom sauce. This is unlike your Western-style creamy mushroom sauce, but is instead made from shiitake mushrooms, making for a broth with a lighter, darker consistency. The noodles are garnished with sesame seeds and fried shallots.

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Assorted yong liew, featuring chilli stuffed with fish paste, pork balls, stuffed beancurds and tofu, and fried jicama (sar kok).

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Last but not least, the glutinous rice with kaya (coconut jam) gives you a sweet end to the meal – sort of like Thai mango sticky rice. If you like it savoury, go for the one with curry. Wash down everything with a signature cup of Ipoh White Coffee.

KEDAI KOPI KENG NAM 

127, Jalan Raja Ekram, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Business hours: 6AM – 11AM (daily)

 

Best Chinese Nasi Lemak In Kuala Lumpur @ Peel Road Nasi Lemak, Cheras

Nasi lemak. The perennial Malaysian favourite, and the country’s national dish.

The traditional version – often wrapped in banana leaf in a pyramid-like shape – consists of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan, served with sambal (spicy sauce), fried anchovies and peanuts, sliced cucumber and a boiled egg. While the dish is primarily served by Malay vendors (but enjoyed by people from all walks of life), Malaysia being the multiracial country that it is means that every race has their own unique version of nasi lemak. For the Chinese, it often means incorporating their own side dishes (sometimes non-halal) to go with the fragrant coconut rice.

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We’ve heard a lot about Nasi Lemak Peel Road – a Chinese-style nasi lemak stall in Cheras that has been going strong for over 26 years – so N and I decided to go check it out for ourselves.

Run by a husband and wife team, the stall is easily distinguished from the other hawkers thanks to its bright yellow signage. That, or just look for the crowd milling about the front, where makeshift chairs and tables are setup each afternoon. Parking is a pain so your best bet would be to park inside Sunway Velocity Mall which is just across the road.

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Served ‘chap fan’ (mixed rice) style, there are about 10 dishes to choose from to go with your nasi lemak. The bestseller is their fried chicken, which is made fresh on the spot at the kopitiam next to where the stall is. They literally ‘fly’ off the rack as soon as each batch is served! (Customer before us ordered 10 pieces). Other must-tries are the sambal sotong, rendang (only available on weekends), curry mutton, chicken curry and ayam masak merah, a Peranakan-inspired dish taught by the proprietor’s grandmother who was a Nyonya.

That aside you get items such as fried sausages and eggs, luncheon meat, stir-fried vegetables, pork and potatoes, sambal petai, and more. The lady boss cooks everything on her own (except the fried chicken, which the husband does) to ensure good quality control.

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Loaded my plate with fried chicken, sambal sotong and mutton curry. All the dishes went well with the rice, which was creamy but subtle. I can see why the chicken is so popular – extremely flavourful (not just on the skin but on the inside as well), addictively crunchy on the outside whilst being tender and moist on the inside. The mutton curry was not gamey at all and not too spicy; while the sambal sotong had a nice sweet and savoury tang to it with just enough kick. Two plates cost us RM15, which is very reasonable imo considering its a meal in the city centre.

Note: Come early to avoid disappointment; they run out as early as 8.30PM. Seats are limited so it’s best to tapau.

NASI LEMAK PEEL ROAD 

88, Jalan Peel, Maluri, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opening hours: 2.30PM – 8.30PM (closed Thursdays)

NON-HALAL

 

Review: HK Boy Cart Noodle, Bandar Puteri, Puchong

[Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.]

Cart noodles are an iconic part of Hong Kong culture and cuisine. First sold from makeshift carts on the street (hence the name), they were ubiquitous in the city in the 1950s. The dish, which allowed diners to mix and match noodles with a variety of ingredients, was popular among the working class for being cheap, filling and tasty. Owing to poor hygiene practices, they were sometimes called ‘dirty’ noodles (la zha meen). 

Although these carts have all but disappeared due to stricter regulations, the dish itself endures in casual eateries, cafes and even high-end restaurants, where they are spruced up with fancy ingredients and served with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

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Cantonese cuisine – of which Hong Kong food is rooted in – is popular in Malaysia, thanks to the country’s large Cantonese-Chinese diaspora. So when HK Boy Cart Noodles opened its doors here a year ago, the crowds were absolutely insane. The hype has died down a little, so it was the perfect time to go try the food at their branch in Bandar Puteri, Puchong.

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The interior evoked the nostalgia of 1980s – 90s Hong Kong, with neon street signs hanging from the ceiling, and names of popular streets plastered on one side of the wall. On the other were posters from famous HK films, many of which I grew up watching, such as those starring Stephen Chow, Andy Lau and Chow Yun Fatt.

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Orders are written on a chit. You can opt for the basic cart noodles with two toppings (RM11.90) or three (RM13.90). First, pick a base of either dry or soup, then your level of spiciness. Next, select your preferred type of noodle (yellow, hor fun, mihun, egg noodle or instant noodle) and a sauce (beef tendon, curry, braised, tomato broth, spicy or imitation fin). Finally, choose from toppings such as fish balls, pork balls, crab sticks, pork chops, pork slices and luncheon meat. More adventurous foodies may opt for items like pork intestine, blood curd, ginger onion pork liver or preserved vegetables. As for snacks, you’ll find street food items typical to HK, including eggettes, French toast and sandwiches.

The grilled pork intestine (above) was a tad on the greasy side, but it had a pleasant, sweetish flavour. It was also cleaned well so it had none of that pungent odour.

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N’s bowl of yellow noodle in soup with braised sauce, HK style ham and lemongrass chicken chop. Portions were hefty. The soup had a herbal taste, and since he opted for spicy, delivered a good kick as well.

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I went for the instant noodles, which had a springy, al dente texture, tossed in beef tendon sauce. For toppings, I had bursting pork meatballs, which were filled with savoury soup on the inside, and fried wontons. While nothing to shout about, the dish was tasty enough and of course, very filling. To wash it down was a bottle of milk tea served in an ice bucket, which I thought was brilliant since it won’t be diluted, but would still be cold.

HK BOY CART NOODLE (PUCHONG BRANCH) 

25-G, Jalan Puteri 1/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 3PM, 6PM – 10.30PM (Mons – Thurs), 10AM – 3PM, 6PM – 10.30PM (Fris – Suns)

Steamboat-Style Skewers @ Lok Lok Gai, Bandar Puchong Jaya

For the uninitiated, lok lok (literally ‘boil boil’ in Cantonese) is a style of hotpot, commonly found on the streets of Malaysia. Usually sold by a mobile truck, there would be various meats and vegetables on skewers, which patrons can cook in boilers filled with soup, or have it grilled or deep fried on the spot.

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Bandar Puchong Jaya is home to a Lok Lok Gai aka “Lok-Lok Street” – basically a carpark by day which turns into an open air food court with several lok lok trucks and other food trucks by night. Being a native of Puchong, I’ve been coming here since my teens, and I always get my lok lok fix from one particular stall because I love their fried oyster mushrooms.

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How it works: You take a styrofoam box (yes, it’s not exactly environmentally-friendly) from a corner of the truck, then proceed to pick the items that you like. You then chuck them into the boiling pot of soup and wait for them to cook. Once done, bring them to a table and enjoy! There are also a variety of sauces such as chilli, sweet sauce and my favourite, the peanut sauce which you can ladle into your styrofoam box/plate. For items that you’d like fried (like the bacon, needle mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, etc.), hand them over to the chef, who will then send it over to your table.

What you can get: My top picks are seafood tofu with cheese, bursting pork balls, fried oyster mushrooms, fried needle mushrooms, bacon, and squid. Other items available include quail’s eggs, century eggs, cuttlefish, hot dogs, sausages, meatballs, fishballs, fried tofu and vegetables.

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When you’re done dining, collect the skewers and take them to the boss of the lok lok truck, and make payment. Prices vary for different items, but on average I would say about RM2-4 per skewer, depending on what you’re getting.

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Seating : plastic tables/chairs. You HAVE to order a drink because apparently they have an arrangement if you’re dining there, and if you don’t the drink people will harass you. Also, be aware of scammers who prowl the area asking for money with some sob story (like their bike broke down and they need money to get home or something).

Hygiene is not exactly the best but I grew up eating street food and I’ve developed a pretty strong stomach.There’s a saying that goes ‘the dirtier it is, the tastier the food’ lol. I am not condoning bad hygiene but that’s just how it is in many parts of Southeast Asia.

There are other food trucks as well selling dishes such as char kuey teow, otak-otak, ojian (fried oyster omelette) and more.

PUCHONG LOK LOK STREET (LOK LOK GAI) 

19A, Jalan Kenari 9, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opens 7PM til late